- the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
- exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
This official definition says so much, if we can really see what it’s saying and come to understand what it means.
Here is how I’m breaking it down, in the context of freedom in life, freedom from the traps of the mind, true living breathing freedom.
“The state of being free or at liberty…”
is a way of being. It’s a feeling. It’s a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual state of living. No matter your circumstances, no matter where you are or what’s happening in your life. The most confining prison is the prison of the mind. The state of being free everywhere, anywhere, with anyone. When we see the mind as a tool, not as identification of Who I Am, then I have a chance at freedom. This is my personal journey. Every. Day.
“…rather than in confinement or under physical restraint.”
Being free from physical restraint is clear. Being free from the confinement of thinking, another thing entirely. And this is far more common. Thoughts are confining. Thoughts are restricting. True creative thinking happens only when we are so fully present, the constraint of time or the identity of a “Me” having a thought disappears. If you ask great artists or athletes, they will often say their greatest moments/gifts/achievements occurred when they weren’t thinking, there were simply Being the thing they were doing. The Muse came through them and they didn’t even have a hand in it. This the Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert refers to in her book by the same name.
“Exemption from external control, interference, regulation…”
Ahhhh, this is so good. External control is everywhere and it starts as soon as we have self-awareness as a toddler and understand that we have a name and are told who we are, what to do and what not do, who to be, etc. This lasts a lifetime…from parents, from school, from caretakers, from jobs, from friends, from society. (Note: This isn’t about parents keeping their children safe from danger by “controlling” them and keeping them out of moving traffic. We’ve all done that.)
This is about freeing yourself from the constraints of external control, interference, regulation. What other people may think of you. Who they tell you you are and what you’re like. What you’re own mind says about you! “It’s just the way I am.” Unlearning all the misconceptions about who you really are. Finding what is true for YOU and only YOU. Finding that place for you where there is understanding and knowing of yourself and your mind patterns, outside of what your mind is chattering about. It takes an intense alertness to the conflicts arising in your mind. It takes work. It may not be popular. It may disappoint people. People might not understand. Until they do. Until you show up to life in a totally different way.
What is the cost of not being free? You lose connection. You lose that sense of Being in the moment. Life becomes about pleasing, looking good, striving, doing things for the “right” reasons according to everyone else. Your life feels like it’s been constricted and put into a box, repeating the same unfulfilling patterns. It all becomes about, for and from others. Not from your own knowing.
Breaking free from external constraints allows you to connect to that state of freedom.
Coming from a true state of freedom, you can then lead powerfully.
Coming from freedom you can then love infinitely and experience infinite love.
Coming from freedom you see your mind as a tool to be used when necessary, not believing the looping patterns that keep you bound.
Coming from freedom you can be in relationships unchained around the possibilities that can be created.
This freedom doesn’t come from any person, any teaching, any place, any book, any thing other than you. All those things can point in a direction and provide valuable knowledge.
But freedom doesn’t come from knowledge.
Freedom comes from understanding.